Farmer in bullish mood after cattle court case boost

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A DONCASTER area farmer and his daughter have won permission to challenge a decision to slaughter their “much-loved” prize-winning bull after it tested positive for bovine TB.

Ken Jackson, of Forlorn Hope Farm, said it was “absolutely brilliant” after a High Court judge gave them the go-ahead to make one last attempt to save the life of Hallmark Boxter, also known as “Boxy”.

The farmer disputes the TB test that condemned his showground champion and has been fighting for a re-test, offering to pay for it himself.

A positive blood sample was taken from the bull in April last year and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ordered him to be slaughtered.

Mr Jackson, whose farm is at Stubbs Walden, north of Doncaster, argues the officers made a mistake. He wants the positive test declared null and void by the courts.

Deputy High Court judge Rabinder Singh QC ruled the farmer had “an arguable case” and ordered his bid to overturn the bull’s death sentence should be heard at the court as a matter of urgency.

The judge said: “This bull is a much-loved animal. He is a prize animal and it would appear that his value to these claimants is not simply to be assessed in monetary terms.”

Julie Anderson, for Defra, told the judge the department was “unhappy and concerned” that the bull had still not been slaughtered, as he posed a disease threat.

She said there was no evidence the positive blood sample had been contaminated.

It was now too late to conduct an effective fresh test and impossible to prove the bull was free of TB.

The TB alert on Forlorn Hope farm arose early last year after a bought-in beef heifer was found to be a carrier.